Terry Carroll, who has been acting as Van Buren Township interim Director of Planning and Economic Development, has been put in the position permanently.
Carroll, 60, was a contract employee through planning consultants McKenna & Associates, who made him available for the interim position after former Director Dan Swallow left in January to take a similar position with the City of Monroe.
Supervisor Paul White recommended the hiring of Carroll and at the April 5 township board meeting the board voted unanimously to follow White’s recommendation.
White said Sally Hodges of McKenna continued to be responsible for the overall guidance and quality control and Christopher Khorey of McKenna assisted during the transition.
White said he advertised for the position for 30 days through the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Township Association, Michigan Association of Planning, and the township web site. He said he received more than 25 responses and after reviewing them, chose Carroll.
“Mr. Carroll is a skilled manager and has the talent necessary to become a permanent member of our executive staff,” White wrote in a memo to the board. “In the time that he has served as Interim Director, he has shown leadership and organization of the department. He is up to speed on the issues facing Van Buren and as an experienced administrator will bring stability to the department.”
Base salary will be $77,500 and if he elects to take health care coverage he will pay 20% of the cost. In order to meet the budget requirement for the salary, $2,650 was moved from the allocated fringes line item to the salary line item.
The pay is higher than the $72,000 paid to Dan Swallow, who he replaced.
The revised job description took away the responsibility for environmental matters, which was a surprise to board members.
Trustee Jeff Jahr, at the April 4 workshop session, asked White if he was increasing Carroll’s pay for fewer duties. Jahr, who sits on the Environmental Commission, wanted to know who would be looking after the environmental matters.
White said Carroll would have been taking a cut from his prior employment if he didn’t get the higher salary and White planned to hire a part-time assistant who has environmental skills for Carroll.
Carroll said this would put the township position back to where it was before it hired Swallow, who had environmental background so the jobs could be combined.
“This should have been discussed before now,” Jahr said to White, who apparently made the decision on his own to separate the jobs.
“I don’t think environmental quality was in the resumes of any of the candidates for the planning and economic development position,” White said.
After much discussion at the April 4 workshop session, White put the environment responsibility back in Carroll’s job description because he would be overseeing it.
When asked, Carroll said there are 7.5 employees in his department.
He said he is “cleaning up quite a few messes from six years ago” and added that there is too much occupying his time to respond to lake complaints.
Treasurer Sharry Budd said Swallow had used college interns in the summers and maybe Carroll could look into that.
Carroll’s resume shows that he worked for the U.S. Census Bureau from March 2009 to Oct. 2010 as an assistant manager for quality assurance in his hometown of Livonia.
Before that he served almost four years (March 2004 to January 2008) as Executive Assistant to the Mayor and Director of Housing & Community Development for the City of Westland.
In March 2008 Carroll interviewed unsuccessfully for the city manager position at the City of Belleville. After three candidate searches following the hiring and firing of Walter Mears, the city council decided to promote city Clerk/Treasurer Diana Kollmeyer to the position, where she continues to serve.
Carroll’s resume shows he was Director of Community Relations for Garden City Hospital, August 1995 to March 2004, Wayne County Director of Community Development (directing administration of the Community Development Block Grant program in 32 communities) January 1992 to July 1995, Garden City Director of Community Development May 1985 to January 1992, and Federal Programs Coordinator for Canton Township August 1978 to May 1985.
He earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Wayne State University and began work on a master’s degree in public administration, but did not complete it.
At the regular meeting on April 5 when Carroll’s job was being considered, resident David Frankling said that many companies do not hire from their contractors since it causes stagnation in thinking. There is too close of a relationship with the contractors, he said.
Frankling said Sally Hodges of McKenna attested to the validity of an oversize garage next door to him and “falsified records,” inviting anyone to sue him for that statement since it was already proven true in court.
“It cost the township $400,000 for a garage project because of McKenna,” Frankling said, adding Bryce Kelley was hired by the township’s planning consultant McKenna after he resigned from Van Buren Township.
“I was shocked to see the township put a McKenna employee as our interim director,” Frankling said. “I didn’t see any of this coming.
“My point is we should not hire from our consultants. This relationship is too cozy,” Frankling continued. “You’re putting all your marbles in one basket – not a very good basket.”
Resident John Delaney said McKenna caused the township to lose $800,000 after a law suit concerning the Columbia residential project in the Martinsville/Hull area.
Delaney pointed out that earlier Trustee Partridge had asked if there were any union grievances involving Carroll and White said there weren’t.
Delaney said in fact there are grievances against Carroll. Delaney also claimed that Carroll misrepresented a telephone conversation with the Andy Hartz of the MDNR concerning the landfill-gas-to-energy plant.
White disagreed with Delaney, who insisted, “There are some character issues.”